Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Il Pirata

There's a real thing in these days of constant critiquing (thanks internet!) for creating major hype around certain places/things. It's for this reason that I have really put off writing this post. I wanted to make sure my faculties weren't being affected by the mass hype around this place. Thankfully, they definitely weren't.

Let me prefix the post by simply saying that this is my current favourite restaurant in Belfast. There's no beating around the bush with this one. I've been and returned numerous times before setting proverbial pen to paper and I have enjoyed each time as much, if not more, than the last.

Il Pirata is another Ballyhackamore (aka food heaven) gem. It's decorated in a simple rustic/industrial style which I must admit, I'm rather fond of. I prefer the feeling of this restaurant for everyday dining to its sister Coppi, as it feels much more open, friendly and less formal! I am all about the relaxed feel (unless it's a special occasion, of course). 

Il Pirata serves up simple, traditional Italian dishes like many other eateries in Belfast but the difference here is that it's done very, very well. Unlike most of the Italian restaurants in the city, the food is prepared with fresh ingredients with little fuss and the pasta dishes aren't loaded with heavy cream.  

Special attention should be paid to the chicken scallopini and the neapolitan risotto as they've fast become our favourites. Where sides are concerned, I often go for the simple broccolini, flavoured with chilli butter and topped with Parmesan. The polenta fritters also make a great, more filling option! 

Dessert has the usual offerings of most authentic Italian eateries, the hazelnut/chocolate torta and the panna cotta pictured above were delicious endings to the meal, and we even had some amazing gelato to share!

If you're going for dinner in a group then make sure to order many of the 'cicchetti' and share! (We recommend the whitebait and the arancini as definite go-to's). This option, I feel, allows for a more traditional Italian family-style eating experience and is a great conversation starter!

The menu is subject to change, but if our experiences are anything to go by - anything you order will be of the same high standard. If you're looking for a great meal in relaxed surroundings, get down to il Pirata


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